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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Do you have a suggestion for a hand-tool woodworking blog you would like to see here?  Tell me via the CONTACT page.  Thanks!


Sheffield and eBay-Ancient tools still supplying the here and now

Paul Sellers - 4 hours 34 min ago

DSC_0353I know I perhaps bang on a little about eBay so perhaps I should qualify my thoughts. It’s not eBay I feel proud of but Britain’s historic contribution in developing and manufacturing the best range of woodworking hand tools for centuries of British woodworkers and woodworking. I look too at what their cutting edges made from in this part of the western world and feel, well, amazed. Of course it’s not just here but around the world. Britain’s been a massive central hub to Europe as a whole and then on to other continents too. I shouldn’t wonder that Britain’s tool history doesn’t have one of the widest outreaches of any country in the world if I think about it. Mostly from a small city called Sheffield, but other cities and towns within a 100 mile radius or so. Quite amazing really, if you think that the population of Sheffield in the mid 1800’s was a mere 180,000. I suppose that might max out somewhere around 30,000 in its workforce. Quite remarkable. Of course it never stopped with the UK supplies alone, its contribution to the past and present world of woodworking was and still is most immense.

DSC_0338Today I find most of the tools I want from eBay. I have never bought anything yet I couldn’t bring up to full working level within a few minutes. A saw takes me 20-30 minutes if rusted a little and dull. A plane might take the same. Imagine, I bought a Woden #78 rabbet plane this week for under £10.P1030941 Without eBay I would be paying hundreds of pounds more than I do. Here’s a Woden 4 1/2 that came in too. Looks a bit rugged. I like them that way and I like paying £12 for them if I can. In the pre-web days around 1980-85 tools were sold by adverts in mags and tool dealers. We paid much higher prices then than we do now, I can tell you, but that’s not my reasoning at all. I think today we see tools that would have been lost to us, perhaps rotted in rust and mildew. Tools keep coming and there are enough to cycle through for every generation of woodworkers yet to come. How about that. A Sheffield, England legacy no one ever knew would happen and no one ever planned for. Sheffield, despite it’s present tool producing demise, is still supplying the new demand for quality tools from its heirloom treasure trove via eBay. DSC_0361I used my I Sorby today to joint the edges of my oak tabletop. I had sharpened bevel ups and bevel downs and the results were good, but when my Sorby licked the surface of the gnarly knots in the oak I felt happy with my rarest of all finds. I know of only two of these planes. John, my last apprentice, has the other. You should have felt it slicing through impossibilities.

The post Sheffield and eBay-Ancient tools still supplying the here and now appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

More of My Tools on E Bay, Ends Tomorrow

David Barron Furniture - 9 hours 29 min ago

I'mm a bit late with this post as these tools end tomorrow night.
The first one is a Spiers rebate plane with it's own user made box. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151653938077?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Next is a rare Preston shoulder plane with a large Preston inscription on the side. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151653957267?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

A very nice flat sole Lie Nielsen shave that hasn't been used. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151653942368?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

And lastly a Bristol Design chariot plane. These aren't being made any more and this example hasn't been used and comes with a very tight mouth. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151653962278?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Categories: Hand Tools

Fallingwater Lamps Finished

McGlynn On Making - 10 hours 11 min ago

I finished off the lamps I was building last night.  I don’t a great pictures of them though, they are hard to get a clear picture of, especially when powered on.  But I like them, one positioned on each of the bed.  It’s not enough light to read a printed book by, but since I read exclusively on my iPad it’s perfect.

One of a pair of Fallingwater lamps I finished

One of a pair of Fallingwater lamps I finished

There are a few things I’ll do differently if I make more of these, including fabricating a brass base instead of a painted wood base.  I might try ebonized walnut for the bottom of the lamp shade support too.  And finally, I need to get a better camera and lighting setup, I’d love to get some first class pictures of my projects as I complete them.  My iPhone does OK for in-progress shots 90% of the time, but it falls short for competed pictures.

Another view

Another view

Categories: General Woodworking

Tools at Skokloster Castle in Sweden

Høvelbenk - 13 hours 58 min ago

Some of you have been following our blog so long that you might remember that Tomas has posted about an interesting old workbench at Skokloster Castle in Sweden? You might also remember that I have posted some pictures of some of the tools in the collection at Skokloster? Some of the comments on that post asked for more pictures of the tools at Skokloster, and here they come at last. This time I write in English as many of the readers of the last posts about the tools at Skokloster where not reading Norwegian.

 Roald RenmælmoThis is the famous unfinished hall at Skokloster. The Castle was started in 1654 and this hall was left like this in 1676, when the owner, Wrangel, died. The hall are a very interesting document of how a building project was organized in about 1670. The scaffolding where found dismanteled and what we see on the photo are the origianl material in a reconstructed scaffolding. Photo: Roald Renmælmo

The unfinished hall at Skokloster have some workbenches, a lathe and some tools that all belongs to the castle. In the next room there are a large collection of woodworking tools that have been bought and used by the previus owners. Some of the wooden molding planes  fit with some of the moldings found in different rooms in the castle. I think some of the planes could have been brought by some of the carpenters working at the castle prior to 1676. The largest part of this tool collection are the tools ordered and delivered from the toolmaker Jan Arnendtz in Amsterdam in Holland in the year 1664. Most of the more than 200 tools and even the documenteation of the order are preserved at Skokloster.

 Roald RenmælmoSome of the tools ordered from Jan Arendtz in 1664. They are in very good condition. Photo: Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

It is some planes and tools that sems to be made by different toolmakers than Jan Arendtz. I think some of theese tools might be used by the carpenters in the building period. Most of the tools made by Jan Arendtz have seen very litle use during the more that 350 years at Skokloster. There might have been several different sets of tools and the other sets might be more intended to be used?

 Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

The tool collection at Skokloster are a very important reference to tools and toolmaking about 350 years ago. The first owner, Carl Gustaf Wrangel was a high ranking Swedish noble, statesman and military commander. He had the money and power to build this castle in a period in the middle of the 17th century when Sweden expanded to become one of the major powers in Europe. The tools and the craftsmen at Skokloster 350 years ago might have been among the best there was in Europe at the time?

Arkivert under:1600-tal, English, Høvelmaking, Snikkarverktøy
Categories: Hand Tools

Aufschrauben? Disamble?

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - 15 hours 31 min ago
When I get an old saw with a rusty blade, I dsamble the saw. Because the most rust often is inside the handle:
Wenn ich eine alte Säge bekomme, die rostig ist, schraube ich den riff einmal ab. Weil der meiste Rost oft im Griff verborgen ist.
Categories: Hand Tools

stress level alarm......

Accidental Woodworker - 16 hours 19 min ago
The start of spring has been a little on the screwball side lately. A couple nice days in the 60's and this morning when I went to work the temperature was 34 degree F. The two previous mornings had the temps in the low 40's with the mid day temps barely getting into the 50's. I really believe that we as a people on this planet have finally pissed off mother nature and it's pay back time.

My goal tonight was to get the tenons sawed, fitted, and do a dry clamp of the base. I got all this accomplished but the stress level was way too high. I thought it was high doing the just the base sans the interior rails. Wow. Add 8 interior rails to the legs and aprons, and the cortisol overflowed. I'm sure I rang the high level alarm bell a bazillion times.

I should have waited for my wife to lend an extra pair of hands but I'm impatient. It was a little more than frustrating to get one rail in and have a previous two pop out. Or my particular favorite stress level raiser, get them all and see that the first rail done isn't in the back mortise. So I had to loosen everything up and of course all 5 rails fell out. I did this dance step 3 times before I got the dry clamp done. If I drank, I would have polished off a fifth of something after this.

tapered carcass saw
This is becoming my shoulder sawing weapon of choice when doing tenons. It really helps to get the far, unseen side of the sawing the same as the side you can see. I had to unlearn that this isn't a straight plate carcass saw but I am getting better with it. I'm not too keen on the length (14") and I wish it was the same length as my straight plate carcass saw (11 1/2").

dry clamp finally done
I did the initial fitting of the interior rails on the back apron with it on the deck. I already had fitted the rails to the front apron so I didn't need to do that again. I also labeled the tenon end that was fitted to the front apron.  The tenons and the mortises are the same on the front and back aprons, but I need to get in the habit of labeling and then following through on them.

tilt rail proud of the frame
I was so stressed out at this point that I didn't think that this was upside down. Which it was because I checked it after dinner.

drawer rails
My drawer rails have two problems. The first one is that this tenon end is too long. Easy fix, saw a bit off. The other problem is the rail doesn't extend to the other side of the drawer opening a 1/2". I want it to be a ½ inch so I can set the drawer guides for the width of the drawer. The fix is sawing a 1/8" shoulder on the tenon so I can move it over in the right direction.

can we guess what this is
outside split and almost broke off
I paid the price for my impatience. I was taking the base apart and one of the end aprons started to fall out. I pulled the long rail towards me and that cause the log apron  leg end to twist. The short apron was partially in the mortise and fell out and split the wall. Another reason why I will not get my mortises done for me again. I never would have made this outside wall so thin.

I told my wife that I need her help when I glue this up tomorrow. She expressed a lot of joy at helping me but told me that she was having hair done. Or was it her nails? I think I may have an extra set of hands to help me. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I could have done more in the shop tonight but I really wanted to leave before some other serendipitous event befell me. I have the whole weekend ahead of me and lot of days to burn yet.

accidental woodworker  countdown is at 49

trivia corner
Who became the last bare knuckle world heavyweight boxing champion in 1882?
answer - John L Sullivan

“Touché Mademoiselle!”

Pegs and 'Tails - 17 hours 42 min ago
In 2011, London art sleuth and dealer, Philip Mould, discovered an interesting eighteenth-century portrait of a seated woman wearing a hat. Mould purchased the painting which, once relieved of its accumulated grime, revealed a five O’clock shadow on the woman’s … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Neck Deep

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 7:04pm

When I started to envision a book on medieval furniture, I didn't want to write something stuffy and scholarly. As I began to walk the path I realized a simple truth. I needed backup. I needed to have some sources, some research that dug deeper than the surface I was skimming.

Long story short. . . I started down a path I thought I knew well, but all to soon I realized there were deep places where I had not tread before. For those places I needed a flashlight.

That flashlight is research. Climbing on the shoulders of those who had gone before and hopefully seeing further.

Today I spent several hours hunkered down in the Kohler Art Library and it's vast archive of knowledge. It was incredible. I found sources for things I already knew. I found answers to questions I was asking myself. I mined enough raw ore to melt down and polish up into a book.

Now I have to continue to find out if I'm worthy of the task.

I'm not worried about building the furniture or documenting the process. I'm worried about writing a book others will find worth reading.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Rotary table backing plate

ZK Project Notebook - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:59pm
A diversion from the machinist chest – I reached a milestone, got to thinking way ahead, my muse deserted me so I gave my coding muse a boot to the hiney and worked on my Rosetta Code page. Wanted to get … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Sophie’s Choice.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:57pm

As woodworkers, it is said that we now have more access to high-quality hand tools than we’ve had in nearly a century. With the advent of the internet, we now have something that was at one time unheard of: access to small makers who once dealt only regionally. High Quality full line makers include Veritas, Lie Nielsen, and Stanley to a lesser extent. Of course there are dozens of others: Clifton, Emmerich, Gramercy, and a growing list of smaller, “Boutique” makers. It is the smaller makers I would like to discuss, briefly.

For fear of angering somebody, I won’t list any of the smaller makers by name because in most cases the name of the company is also the name of the maker. While I don’t really own any tools from the small makers, I’m going to take it on good faith that they are all of high-quality. Nearly every time I’ve seen a review of one of the boutique tools it has been glowing. They generally cost more than the larger manufacturers tools, but they also promise to have been personally made and tuned by the company owner, with the added costs being considered “worth it”. Once again, I will not dispute that. My question doesn’t concern the boutique tools quality or value, but its practicality. Broadly speaking, is it to the greater benefit of woodworking as a hobby to purchase from the small maker, or the larger company?


In North America, a woodworking hobbyist can pick up the Lie Nielsen and Veritas tool catalogs and in a matter of a few weeks fill their entire tool kits from those two lines (that is if you are interested in hand tools and you have the money). The same can be said of the other makers I listed for the most part. When purchasing from a smaller maker, orders can take anywhere from 6 weeks to more than a year to fill, at least according to the inquiries I have made. I have no problem with lead times, and I understand the nature of a small manufacturer filling custom orders, in fact I understand that end of the business better probably than the average person. My point being, does manufacturing ability trump better quality?

Leaving money out of the equation, because a high quality hand tool from a large manufacturer is at times no less costly than purchasing from the small maker, is the success of the larger tool maker more important than the smaller maker in keeping the hobby of woodworking viable? I don’t know the answer, which is why I am asking. As hobbyists, we are often asked to support the smaller makers whenever possible; I can understand that philosophy. However, the potential problem is that we may not be able to depend on the smaller makers to fill our kits. The odd part about the situation is the more successful the smaller maker becomes, the less efficient his production will become. So, can high level woodworking tool production survive without larger manufacturers? Is the company/corporation more important than the individual in this instance?

Categories: General Woodworking

SAPFM is More than Worth the Membership Fee

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:50pm
Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.13.18 AM

In the June 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (which should be landing in subscriber mailboxes any day now if you’ve not already received it) I chose as “highly recommended” (page 12) a membership in the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM). Everything I had to say about SAPFM’s annual member publication, American Period Furniture, is 100-percent true. It is always a fascinating and deep dive into a variety […]

The post SAPFM is More than Worth the Membership Fee appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Customer Projects

David Barron Furniture - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 11:55am

First time dovetails with the guide and saw by David in London. A great first project to get used to the guide and a very useful aid. Once you've succeeded in timber this thick, then drawers and boxes will be easy.

A bathroom wall cabinet from Robert with some very nifty drawer slides. The cabinet was too shallow for any commercial drawer slides so he made his own from wood, following an article from Fine Woodworking magazine

It looks a nice job with some crisp looking dovetails as well.

Categories: Hand Tools

Get Your Books Signed in Iowa

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 11:00am


Several Lost Art Press authors will be available at Handworks to sign your books.

If you want to get Don Williams and Narayan Nayar to sign “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley,” they have set up three times during the weekend for signings. The signings will be in nearby Cedar Rapids at the Scottish Rite Temple where the cabinet and workbench will be displayed. Directions here. Yes, there are tickets still available – details here.

Don is obligated to stay with the exhibit the entire time, so don’t look for him at Handworks. You’ll find only other bearded, suspendered men.

Here are the times for the three “Virtuoso” signings:

Friday at 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday at noon to 1 p.m.

“Virtuoso” will be available for sale both at Handworks and at the exhibit.

Roy Underhill and ‘Calvin Cobb – Radio Woodworker!’
Roy Underhill will be at Handworks this year to deliver the keynote address at 10 a.m. Saturday and will be floating about the show at other times spreading mayhem.

We plan to corral him for a book-signing at 11 a.m. Friday morning in the Lost Art Press booth in the Festhalle. Bring your copy of “Calvin Cobb – Radio Woodworker!” or pick one up at the booth.

Other Lost Art Press Authors
Peter Galbert has a booth at Handworks, so you can get your copy of “Chairmaker’s Notebook” signed there. George Walker, one of the authors of “By Hand & Eye,” will be at the show and is always happy to sign books. Matt Bickford, the author of “Mouldings in Practice,” has a booth in the Festhalle. Mike Siemsen, the host of “The Naked Woodworker,” is happy to sign your DVDs (pro tip: not on the silvery side). Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood and co-author of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” should also be at Handworks.

And, of course, I’ll be there and happy to sign anything – babies, bare chests and books especially.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: By Hand & Eye, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!, Chairmaker's Notebook, Mouldings in Practice, The Joiner & Cabinet Maker, The Naked Woodworker DVD, Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley
Categories: Hand Tools

Take a little bit of Handworks home

Benchcrafted - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 8:42am

With Handworks right around the corner, we've had a few requests for posters.  Initially we weren't going to print any but then decided that it was a decent idea.

We'll have a limited run of these available in the Festhalle barn during Handworks, size is 12x18 printed on medium weight matte finish stock.  Nothing fancy.  Cost will be $1.00 each with all proceeds going to charity (same as all Handworks donations).
Categories: Hand Tools

this hawk is an eastern bird

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 7:46am

Next birds will be western US birds.

RT Hawk Apr 24


Next wood will be Alaskan Yellow Cedar.

cedar lid

travel day today, tomorrow begins my Alaska jaunt.

Article Series on Japanese Joinery

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:24am


Pretty interesting stuff.

Originally posted on GREG MERRITT - BY MY OWN HANDS:

If you have an interest in Japanese joinery or joinery in general, then I would like to point you to an article series by John Bullar.  Mr. Bullar is writing this article series about Japanese joinery for:

Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine.

Mr. Bullar begins the series with a look at Japanese tools as well as pointing out that a person can execute these joints with traditional western tools.

jp_joint-fc-03 Photo used with permission of Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine. Also note the article title in the lower left corner… Just saying…

Let me say this, there is nothing magical about Japanese tools.  They are just tools and are solely dependent upon the skill of the user.  Now I’ll admit that their exotic nature is what first drew me to them.  The quality of the steel and ergonomics is what really hooked me.  The Japanese chisels and saws I absolutely enjoy using.  The kanna…

View original 283 more words

Categories: General Woodworking

Painted Finish With Age

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 4:30am
In the article just released to 360 subscribers, I build and finish a large Shaker Cupboard from the Enfield, Conn. community. The piece, which I can now cross off my bucket list, has a painted finish. When you hear “painted” you most likely think easier. While there are a few steps made easier, I think […]

Why Use Wooden Hand Planes? A Craftsy Guest Post

The Workbench Diary - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 4:06am

I was recently invited to guest blog on Craftsy.com, a DIY educational site covering everything from quilting to cake decorating to woodworking. Despite being the stodgy traditionalist/suspicious New Englander that I am, I decided to give it a go. I’ll put something up about once a month or so and I’ll make sure to let you all know here when each Craftsy post is published.

Because they already have some good woodworking posts, I tried to think about what I may be able to offer that’s unique. I decided to start a series about wooden hand planes. The first in the series is titled, “Why Use Wooden Hand Planes?” Here's an excerpt:
"Why aren’t people flocking to wooden bodied planes like they do to old Stanleys? Is it because they are too crude to do fine work? Are they too tricky to use? Are they simply antiquated technology left in the dust of their metal bodied counterparts? Are these things even worth messing with?"
Check out the post and let me know what you think. Do any of you guys use wooden hand planes in your work? Do have any arguments for or against to add to my post?

In this series I plan to cover restoring old ones, adjusting the cutting action, and more. Stay tuned.
Categories: Hand Tools

almost a crisis.........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:57am
For the last year or so I've been drinking my coffee ½ regular and ½ decaf. I do this to appease my doctor who doesn't want me drinking more than one cup a day.  I told her that will happen when pigs sprout wings and start flying. I use K-cups which makes doing my mixing very easy and I usually go through about 30-40 or  so cups a week at work.

Today after I got out of work,I  made a few stops trying to find some decaf K-cups.  I stopped at two supermarkets and Wally World looking for them. I can get Dunkin' Donuts decaf K-cups but that stuff is about as strong as colored water. I wasted all this time running around and came up empty handed. The kicker was the comment from a sales associate at Wally World.

I asked her why there weren't any decaf K-cups? She replied that they sell out pretty quickly. I said it looks like a lot faster then the regular. Have you thought of increasing the decaf stock. Oh, no, we only sell what we get. Obviously the sell and demand equation is way above her understanding. I'll have to wait until the weekend to get some deaf K-cups.

hard to see them
 I sawed and planed the button mortise plugs flush. I put some putty on them and they almost disappeared. The final look will come tomorrow when I sand them.

two projects here
This is part of a trestle leg assembly for a table. I'm thinking of sawing a piece of it off and making a set of winding sticks with it. That may not happen because this wood is ash or a real crappy looking red oak. I don't think that is a good choice for winding sticks. But it it the only wood I have that is thick enough and I got an itch to make something.

The other project involves moving my 6" jointer and sticking it in the boneyard (I haven't used it in over a year). The hole that will be left over after that I'll put in a sharpening station in it. I have the table top and I can use the trestle legs but I'll probably use 2x6's or maybe 4x4 posts for the base. I have a lot to do with the dinning room table but I can't help looking around for something else to do in the interim.

sawing to OAL
I've been thinking of this all day. I did not want to screw this up with a stupid mind fart(furz, pedo, scoreggia, prut, pet, wind, rhech). I sawed all of them on the waste side of the pencil line.

shot the ends square removing the pencil lines
marked up
I ran the knife line all around and they all met which tells me I'm square. After I got the knife line extended I used the respective mortise gauges and marked the tenons.

made the walls
I was started to rush myself here and that usually means a mistake is coming. I quit here for the night as I have  plenty of time to do this now. Tomorrow I'll be able to get all the tenons done and fitted. Then I'll get my wife to give me a hand and I'll do a dry fit. If nothing else happens I should be able to at least get the base glued up. I'll be thinking happy thoughts on this.

accidental woodworker  50 days to go

trivia corner
What largely unknown role did William Dawes and Samuel Prescott play in American history?
answer - they accompanied Paul Revere on his midnight ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming

It’s Bender’s Fault

The Furniture Record - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:24pm

No, in this instance I am not referring to Bender Bending Rodriguez, irrepressible star of the hit TV series Futurama.

Not this Bender.

Not this Bender.

Or John Bender as played by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, the 1985 John Hughes film.

Not this Bender either. Though, similar hair.

Not this Bender either. Though, similar hair.

I am referring to Charles (Chuck) Bender, one of the leading period furniture makers in southwest Ohio. He used to be one of the leading period furniture makers in southeast Pennsylvania but he moved. He is late of the Acanthus Workshop and now a founding partner of 360 Woodworking.

A few years back I signed up for the inlaid stand class with Freddy Roman at the Acanthus Workshop. Problem was that I was the only person that signed up. Mr. Bender and I discussed it and decided not to make Mr. Roman to come down to teach a class for one person.

Our compromise was for me to come north and spend a week hanging out and working on skills related to making the inlaid stand. In other words, he would be my friend for a week if I paid him. Since this is the arrangement I have with many other “friends”, I readily agreed. This was not true when I was younger. Back then, my parents paid.

One day, Mr. Bender had some real work to do and left me alone in the back room with some veneers to lay up a cross banded top as if I were making the inlaid stand. I discovered I enjoyed working with veneer and cross banding. It’s like working a puzzle only with sharp tools and tape.

Come forward to present day and I suddenly was presented with the opportunity to do some more cross banding. The drawer front from the curved front wall cabinet (see yesterday’s post) needs to be 1 3/4″ thick. Since a 2 by 12 is only 1 1/2″ thick, I glued up my drawer front from two 7/8″ blanks. When the curve was sawn into the drawer front, the curve ended up crossing the glue line exposing both halves, the glue line  and the differences between the halves in grain and color. It looked odd.

It occurred to me that this would be a good place to use some veneer. Just glue some veneer and cover my lack of forethought. My next thought was that if cutting and veneering southern yellow pine was absurd, cross banding with southern yellow pine would be even more absurd. Sometimes absurd appeals to me.

Absurd yet oddly compelling.

Absurd yet oddly compelling.

Southern yellow pine is not the easiest wood to work with but it is possible. Light wood is extremely soft and the darker wood is harder and a bit on the brittle side. Challenging but if we were looking for easy we would all be (insert your least favorite activity here).

Cautionary tale.

The dark areas are burn through. Instead of vacuum bagging as I was taught, I was in a hurry and clamped it, badly. I used the cut offs to clamp the outer two-thirds and applied insufficient pressure to the center allowing the hot hide glue to accumulate in the center and bubble up unevenly. Sanding revealed my lack of technique as the congealing glue came oozing through the thinned wood.

Like many other things I’ve done, it started as a woodworker’s inside joke and turned out better than I thought. Then I get annoyed that I didn’t do it better although I didn’t set out to do it well. Some woodworking pundit recently wrote about always doing your best work. On some level he was right.

I’m still not going to build my jigs and templates from Baltic birch.

Or put a finish on them.

I made another drawer front this time leaving the front section as thick as possible and only adding enough wood to the back to make up the 1 3/4″ thickness. It turned out much better.

In that a southern yellow pine drawer can ever turn out well.

In that a southern yellow pine drawer can ever turn out well. Would have been nice if i could have centered the grain pattern. It’s a prototype…

And I made enough pine veneer to open my own IKEA.

Using a 14

Using a 14″ Rikon bandsaw with a 3/8″, 4 TPI blade set up as per Michael Fortune. No measurable drift.


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by Dr. Radut